UN: HRC appoints Farida Shaheed as Independent Expert in the field of cultural rights

WLUML Networkers
The Human Rights Council concluded its 12th session by naming the first Independent Expert on cultural rights, Farida Shaheed, Director of Research at Shirkat Gah - Women's Resource Centre & longstanding council member of Women Living Under Muslim Laws.
An internationally recognized sociologist, writer, academic and development consultant, Farida Shaheed has over 25 years of experience in development research and training. Since 1980, Ms. Shaheed has served as consultant to various U.N. and bilateral development agencies as well as to the Government of Pakistan on issues of governance and policy-formulation.
Over the years, Ms. Shaheed has played a key role in promoting the need to integrate cultural appropriateness with all human rights and fundamental freedoms. While she has done this with particular reference to Muslim contexts, she has also worked closely with rights advocates from diverse cultural and religious traditions. In 1995 Ms. Shaheed was an expert delegate at the landmark Muslim Women Parliamentarians Conference and provided significant inputs to the Islamabad Declaration on the Role of Muslim Women Parliamentarians in Promotion of Peace, Progress and Development of Islamic Societies.

She has written extensively on issues of citizenship and culture, including recent works such as “Citizenship and the nuanced belonging of women” (2007) and Gender, Religion and the Quest for Justice in Pakistan (UNRISD: 2009). Furthermore, she is a founder member of the national women’s lobby, Women’s Action Forum that spearheaded the movement for women's equality during a decade of martial law (1977-88) in Pakistan.

Ms. Shaheed has always worked on the principle that legal consciousness enables people to make informed choices within the existing range of options (including laws, customs and institutions), empowering them to challenge and redefine these. As Director of Research at Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource Centre in Pakistan, she was responsible for the Centre’s Women Law & Status Programme (WLS), which builds the capacity of women at the grassroots for policy advocacy.

The WLUML network stands ready to support Ms. Shaheed in the shaping of this new, and timely mandate on culture and human rights.

Source: WLUML Networkers